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Blue Pheasant Bar and Grill
22100 Stevens Creek Blvd, Cupertino 408.255.3300

Hours: Tue-Sun 8pm-1:30am
Crowd Age: 35-65
Music: DJ
Décor: Spanish mission
Signature Drink: Caribbean Hooker
Dancing: Oh yes . . .
Ambience: The purple Mercedes in the crowded parking lot told the whole story. The Blue Pheasant basically exists as a meat market for middle-aged divorcées, or for middle-aged married couples who want to go and shake their stuff on the dance floor while they still can. The people there were very friendly and talkative, but they mainly concerned themselves with slugging down expensive fruity drinks and getting crazy to the disco sounds that the DJ spun. Younger readers might not like the Blue Pheasant (unless they're into playing the gigolo or in a serious hunt for a sugar daddy), but a 50-year-old who just divorced a wealthy CEO will love the opportunity to go, get funky and cruise for casual sex.

Britannia Arms
1087 De Anza Blvd, Cupertino 408.252.7262

Hours: Daily 11:30am-2am
Crowd Age: 21-45
Music: Karaoke Sundays, Jazz Mondays, live bands Thu-Sat
Décor: British pub with a twist of strip mall
Signature Drink: Guinness
Dancing: Yes
Games/Amenities: Pool tables, foosball, darts, sports leagues, sports on the telly
Ambience: Take up thy arms and walk! Down to the Britannia Arms, where people gather to quaff Guinness and enjoy the warm atmosphere of the Cupertino branch of this chain of British pubs. On busy nights, the large room and patio areas will both fill up with people looking to tie one on in the company of good blokes and lasses, enjoy a rousing foosball competition or just sit back and listen to the band play. The jerseys of the many rugby and soccer teams that the Arms sponsors hang on the walls, and the teams will drop in after games occasionally. Young students, professionals and older regulars all mix together in true pub fashion.

Coffee Society
21265 Stevens Creek Blvd, Cupertino 408.725.8091

Hours: Sun-Thu 6:30am-11pm, Fri-Sat 6:30am-midnight
Crowd Age: 16-60
Music: Soft music from speakers
Décor: Artsy nook with leather sofas and computer stations
Signature Drink: Iced latte
Dancing: Maybe some improv moves outside
Games/Amenities: Paperback library
Ambience: The Coffee Society has a little something for everyone, and lots of coffee to keep everybody awake. The independent coffeehouse displays sculpture, paintings and photographs, and also has places for professionals to come in, plug in and get some extra work done. Students from De Anza College come in regularly and contribute to the bohemian flavor of the place, while families and youngsters can enjoy the relaxed atmosphere.

Duke of Edinburgh
10801 N. Wolfe Rd, Cupertino 408.446.3853

Hours: Daily 11am-1:30am
Crowd Age: 25-50
Music: Stereo
Décor: British lounge
Signature Drink: Glenlivet 12, straight
Games/Amenities: Darts
Ambience: The Duke's red faux-velvet booths and upholstered walls conjure a watering hole on the other side of the Atlantic. So, too, do the dozen British Isles lagers on tap and the patio rimmed by a wrought-iron fence that could be somewhere in London. But the Duke's no dive; even the dartboard is tucked in a corner to avoid ruining the well-kept feel of the place. While the occasional long vowel can be heard around the bar, the place isn't an Anglo enclave--its clientele spans the South Bay spectrum. With Springsteen and fellow red-blooded rockers piped through the speakers, were the real Duke of Edinburgh to visit he'd know exactly what side of the pond he was on.

Peacock Lounge
19980 Homestead Rd, Cupertino 408.777.0182

Hours: Daily 10pm-2am
Crowd Age: 25-50
Music: Stereo and jukebox
Décor: Beer paraphernalia with Mexican flavor
Signature Drink: Red Bull and vodka
Games/Amenities: Shuffleboard, darts, foosball, pool and video games.
Ambience: Hidden behind a short row of stores in the midst of a sea of housing developments, the Peacock faithful know they won't be hassled in getting just what they want: a pop and some play. No, not that kind. More than half of the Peacock's space is dedicated to afterdeck sports, and the establishment has several ongoing leagues and competitions to spice things up. This isn't Dave and Buster's, though; Frilled Tecate flags and strings of orange jalapeno lights provide the backdrop and a strong cast of regulars dominate the bar, all lending a down-home atmosphere.

The Peppermill
10690 N. De Anza Blvd, Cupertino 408.996.7750

Hours: Daily 10:30am-2am
Crowd Age: 21-45
Music: Mood music that comes from the ceiling
Décor: Vegas lounge style, baby
Signature Drink: Mai Tai, Bloody Mary, etc.
Games/Amenities: A submerged fireplace
Ambience: A bartender at the Peppermill's Fireside Lounge told me that the Lounge was a great place to "bring a girl and get laid after paying too much for a drink." That seemed about right. When my attorney and I arrived, we settled in front of the eternal flame burning in the middle of a bubbling cauldron of water lit from below. This was where we belonged; the place had such a heavy Vegas vibe, we couldn't help but feel at home. Every available surface was covered in either red velour, mirrors or a fake tree. The chairs were all very low to the floor, but we finally managed to pull ourselves up and made our way to the door, buying a pie in the restaurant out front and singing old Sinatra tunes as we drove off in our rented Cadillac.

TGI Friday's
10343 N. Wolfe Road, Cupertino 408.257.2050

Hours: 11 am-2am
Crowd Age: 16-40
Music: Top 40
Décor: Antique Americana
Signature Drink: Friday's Freeze: orange sherbet, OJ and Smirnoff
Dancing: Birthday boys and girls only, please
Games/Amenities: Electronic trivia
Ambience: Friday's has two happy hours a day (4-7pm and 10pm-1am), and neither period is misnamed; the place is downright bubbly all night. The wait-staff scramble around in candy-cane-colored jerseys serving fruity drinks to twentysomethings, many of them gaggled together to celebrate something. And Friday's keeps everyone's tummies full by keeping its kitchen open until 1:30am. As a result, the youngsters--always hunting for a snack regardless of whether they'll be served a drink--fill the place to closing time. The outfit's prize oddity, among a collection of old marching band instruments and street signs, is a two-story circular phone booth that seems well on its way to becoming an antique itself. Some baby boomers can still be seen making calls from it on occasion.

Listings by Geographical Location:
Campbell | Cupertino | Los Gatos | Mtn. View | Peninsula | Central San Jose | San Jose 'Burbs | Santa Clara | Saratoga | South County | Sunnyvale | South County | Bar and Club Locator

Light's On, Door's Open: What makes a bar a favorite hangout the world over? One writer aims to find out.

I'll Have What She's Having...: What's new and what's cool when it comes to the latest cocktail twists.

Senoritas and Margaritas: Left at Albuquerque--blame it all on Route 66.

Scene Stealer: All the animals come out at night... to the Camera Cafe.

Saddle Up: Sangria Restaurant, where sitting at the bar is a gripping experience.

Retro Groovin': At the DancePlex. partygoers relive the '70s, '80s and... this morning!

Flash and Dash: Mardi Gras and other surprises at Nola Restaurant and Bar.

Knight Dreams: Black Watch--where swords cross and Stoli freezes over.

United Nations: Lido's Nightclub, where world beat has a whole new meaning.

Taste the Music: The Icon Supperclub is the new incarnation of the Edge.

Mineral Wealth: Mining for meaning under the Cinebar's disco ball .

In the Pink: All in a dogone day's work at the Pink Poodle.

Rod's Roadstop: Britannia Arms at Almaden wears it well.

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From the June 21-27, 2001 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 2001 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

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